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Capricious

Voters will pay for roads


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August 14, 2014
CITY OF GROSSE POINTE — Few people like paying higher property taxes.

But, results of the municipal millage election, Aug. 5, indicate more City of Grosse Pointe voters prefer paying an extra 2.5 mills for smooth roads than to endure rough rides and automotive repair bills caused by pot holes.

Voters supported the millage increase 714 to 484, a 60-to-40 percent margin.

"I'm pleased it passed," said Councilman John Stempfle. "My wife and I recently spent over $600 repairing her car, in part, because of the poor shape of the roads throughout Michigan."

Council members, realizing that road repairs — 29 percent of city roads are rated in poor condition — overwhelmed the dwindling capital projects fund, sought a solution through a millage increase starting in 2015 and lasting up to 15 years.

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Receipts are reserved for road maintenance.

"The citizens saw the benefit of the program that was presented," said Mayor Dale Scrace. "It's very thorough and dedicates an income stream to do this work."

The millage raises $825,000 annually, more than triple the $250,000 currently available for road repairs.

A 2.5 mill increase translates into $330 additional taxes for the average city dwelling, which has a taxable value of $132,123, according to city officials.

Construction starts next summer.

"Between now and construction, there will be another citywide assessment of the streets conducted after the winter is over, as we have done annually since 2006," said Peter Dame, city manager. "Then, the city engineer will put together a plan for approval next spring for council consideration. This process will repeat each year of the comprehensive pavement management program."

Unlike rain that came and went on election day, voters entered the polls at a constant drizzle.

"Turnout was nice and steady," said Julie Arthurs, city clerk.

Slightly more than 28 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

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